One outcome that had been in play in Saarland was a governing partnership between the center-left Social Democrats and the far-left Left party, in what would have been the first such governing coalition in a western German state. But the Left party won only around 13 percent of the vote, and it is likely that the Social Democrats will again be a junior partner in Saarland in a coalition with the Christian Democrats.
âIt was a clear âNoâ to a Left government,â Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer said.
The far-right Alternative for Germany, which has advanced on an anti-migrant, anti-Muslim platform, was projected to receive around 6 percent of the vote, meaning that it would now be in 12 of Germanyâs 16 state legislatures.
Mr. Schulz acknowledged disappointment in his partyâs performance, but encouraged his supporters not to waver in the monthslong campaign for the national election.
Although Mr. Schulz has lifted his partyâs flagging fortunes, most polls show that Ms. Merkel, who has almost 12 yearsâ experience of international leadership and crisis management, is still the preferred chancellor.
But Sundayâs projected victory for her party by no means guarantees that she will retain power in September.
In the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a leading German newspaper, the commentator Nico Fried compared Ms. Merkelâs situation to that of a janitor sweeping sidewalks during a snowstorm: âAs soon as he has cleared one patch, he can start all over again.â
Mr. Fried pointed out that even if Ms. Merkelâs party keeps power in Saarland, there are two other state elections looming where he called…